Ice Cream Around the Country -

July is National Ice Cream Month. Former President Ronald Reagan dubbed it so.. But since his time as president, ice cream has grown up.

If you are traveling this summer, you will have an opportunity to branch out from your own backyard and discover some of the new cool flavors artisan parlors are churning out…. or stick with the classics. Either one is good for melting all your troubles away.

One of the most popular ice creamery in our country is the Ben and Jerry’s  factory that is open to the public in Waterbury Vermont. It is a sweet stop if you are anywhere in New England. ..this colorful creamery nestled in the beautiful Green Mountains.

Ben and Jerry's Factory Tour, Waterbury Vermonr

The tour starts off with a movie about the company’s history – it is a great business story about two young friends who attended an ice cream making course for $5, and invested their life savings into a gas station they turned into their ice cream parlor where they churned out all different kinds of wacky flavors with fresh ingredients.

The branding of their product is a huge success story  – and interesting.

Ben and Jerry's Plant - photo from mnn.com

You then get to see the ice cream factory from a platform above all the machines – (photo from mnn.com)

and finally – the tasting room where guests are given free samples of a delicious flavor of the day – the kids’ favorite part!

Make sure to visit the flavor graveyard where some of your old favorite flavors have been laid to rest :)

Admission for adults is $4. Kids under 12 are free! www.benjerry.com

I recently taped a few video segments for SheKnows.com – one specifically about ice cream, and got to visit some old favorites. http://www.sheknows.com/sheknowstv/cityguide/family-travel/you-scream-i-scream

Dad’s Donuts and Bakery Shop on Balboa Island, Newport Beach CA is special to me -  I used to visit as a child.It’s  a tiny little bungalow on the quaint Balboa Island, but has plenty of character – and serves up an ice cream bar dipped in rich chocolate, then dipped in toppings of your choice. It has been named the “Balboa Bar.” (photo from papawow.com)

Taking a more avant -garde turn… to try truly special flavors, head to Mitchell’s in San Francisco – it’s been around since 1953, but has been serving gourmet flavors before it was fashionable. how about avocado or mojito on a cone ? Don’t miss the pumpkin flavor in the fall – apparently has a cult following. www.mitchellsicecream.com

Pazza Gelato

And finally – Pazza Gelato in Los Angeles’s SilverLake neighborhood  takes organic seasonal fare and turns it into splendid sorbetto. What’s at the farmer’s Market this week? That’s what you’ll find in your cone… Toasted Almond Fig…. or Guinesss extra stout…or Buttered Brown Sugar…or Sicilian Pistachio. If you can grow it, Pazza Gelato can churn it. www.pazzagelato.net

My family and I love trying the local ice cream shop when I travel – what’s your favorite?

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